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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'My biggest fear is becoming homeless'

Judy Garrison, 43, a disabled single parent from Belvidere, Ill., and her daughter, Abigail, 11, rely on the Belvidere/Boone County Food Pantry, Capron, Ill., to help with food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, toys, books, clothing and household items. Last year the pantry received a $2,500 relief grant from the ELCA World Hunger Program, which supports pantries and other services for the hungry through its domestic hunger grants. Last year the program distributed $913,000 to hunger relief organizations in nearly all 65 synods.

Here, Judy Garrison shares her story.


Judy and Abigail Garrison
Judy Garrison and her daughter, Abigail, and many other Americans like them, live with the constant challenge of making a dollar stretch and with depending on others for the necessities of life. Thanks to two food pantries with Lutheran connections, they're making ends meet-just barely.
My biggest fear is becoming homeless. I understand completely how people can end up homeless, I really do. They can become disabled or lose their job. It’s not negligence, it’s a lack of help. If you don’t have family or friends to rely on, it’s easy to end up on the streets.

Fifteen years ago my doctor diagnosed me with degenerative disc disease, a disorder that typically afflicts the elderly. Since then my symptoms have progressively worsened to the point where I need help taking a shower, washing and combing my hair, and putting on my socks and shoes. It bothers me that I’m unable to keep my house as clean. I can’t vacuum, do laundry or dishes, or stand for long to cook a full meal. I can only sit at the computer or in the car for a short while unless I take medication, and then I am too heavily medicated to do anything.


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